Multiple Praziquantel Treatments of Schistosoma mansoni Egg-Negative, CCA-Positive Schoolchildren in a Very Low Endemic Setting in Egypt Do Not Consistently Alter CCA Results

Forty-four Schistosoma mansoni egg-negative/circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) low-positive (trace or 1+) children in three districts of very low prevalence in Egypt were given three sequential praziquantel (PZQ) treatments. Stool and urine specimens were collected 3 months following the initial treatment, and 3 weeks following the second and following the third PZQ treatments, which were conducted 5 weeks apart. Stool specimens were examined by Kato-Katz (four slides/stool sample) and all S. mansoni egg-negative stools were further tested by the “miracidia hatching test” (MHT). Urine samples were examined by the point-of-care CCA assay (POC-CCA). Over the study period, all stool samples from study subjects remained S. mansoni egg negative and MHT negative. Of the POC-CCA test results, in the first day of the study 3 months following the initial treatment, 29.5% were negative, 61.4% CCA trace positives, and 9.1% CCA 1+ positives. Following each PZQ treatment, the test results fluctuated between 1+, trace, and negative, but did not consistently decrease. The proportions of POC-CCA-positive results obtained in the first day (70.5%) as compared with the last day of the study (72.7%) in all of the three districts were very similar. We conclude that CCA trace and 1+ readings, in Kato-Katz S. mansoni egg-negative children in this area with very low levels of intestinal schistosomiasis, are not consistently altered or rendered consistently negative following repeated PZQ treatments and are therefore likely to represent false-positive readings. This finding is of critical importance for countries such as Egypt as they approach elimination.

Ayat A. Haggag, Miriam Casacuberta Partal, Amal Rabiee, Khaled M. Abd Elaziz, Carl H. Campbell Jr., Daniel G. Colley and Reda M. R. Ramzy. 2019. Am J Trop Med Hyg. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0961

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